Yes! Our beloved VLC is taking the plunge into 360-degree videos, just in time for the big VR push Microsoft is planning to launch as part of its Windows 10 Creators Update.
I started by saying ‘our beloved VLC,’ because it is just that! We (most people) love VLC because of its ability to play just about any video and audio format you can throw at it. Few media players come close to what VLC can handle.
However, up to until recently, 360-degree videos used to be the exception; given it is a recent cutting edge development. As expected, VLC never fails to impress, and it adapted. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the maker VideoLAN unveiled the VLC 3600 technical preview (beta) for Windows and Mac; the next generation of VLC for playing 360-degree videos.
The stable build is expected to be launched somewhere in 2017, so you need to be patient if you are the risk averse type. Nevertheless, if you are the early adopter, risk taker! Then you can jump right on it and install the beta version for a test drive.
Let me remind you, installing beta software comes with its fair share of bugs and crash. If this is something, you can live with; proceed to install VLC 3600 technical preview.
One more word of caution, installing the VLC 3600 technical preview will automatically uninstall the stable version you already got running in your system.
Using VLC 3600 technical preview
You can now view 360-degree videos right on your Windows or Mac computers. You can navigate the video through your mouse.
To make VLC 3600 possible, VideoLan collaborated with Giroptic; an open source organization that makes consumer grade 360-degree cameras. However, this early release of VLC 3600 does not support YouTube’s 360-degree videos. For reasons explained below by VideoLAN President Jean-Baptiste Kempf:
The support for YouTube’s 360-degree videos is entirely determined by Google. “When YouTube will export videos with the 360 metadata standard, they will play directly” on VLC 3600.
For the risk-averse user, you will have to wait until the next update to VLC version 3.0.